National Symbols

The National Flag

The colours of the flag of Zimbabwe are based on those of the flag of the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) (ZANU / PF). The green represents Country’s vegetation and land resources. The yellow represents the country’s mineral wealth. The red represents the blood spilled during the liberation struggle – the fight for independence. Black represents the black majority of people of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Bird is the National Emblem of Zimbabwe. The white triangle stands for peace and the hope for the future. The Red Star stands for internationalism (and reflects the ruling party’s socialist credentials). The Flag consists in seven equal horizontal stripes of green-yellow-red-black-red-yellow-green with a black fimbriated white isosceles triangle at hoist containing a red five-pointed star and the yellow Great Zimbabwe bird. 

The National Coat of Arms

The coat of arms features two kudus standing on top of a mound composed of wheat, cotton and maize. The green shield represents the fertility of our soil while the blue and white wavy lines symbolise the water which brings prosperity. The representation of Great Zimbabwe stands for the historical heritage of the nation. The rifle and hoe represent the transition from war to peace. The wreath is formed of twisted strips of gold and green silk, and represents the mining and agricultural enterprise which protects our national economy. This supports the crest in which the star is an ancient symbol of hope for the future, tinctured red to remind us of the suffering of all our peoples and the need to avoid any recurrence of that suffering. The star bears the Great Zimbabwe Bird which has become our distinctive national emblem. The kudu in their natural colours display a harmonious blend of black, white and brown which may be taken to symbolise the unity of purpose of the various ethnic groups which comprise the people of this country. The earthen mound bears the plants which give food and clothing to the people and the motto reminds us of our need to maintain a desire for national unity and the will to work, in order to preserve the freedom which we enjoy.

The National Bird Emblem

The Great Zimbabwe Bird is the national emblem of Zimbabwe.  It is found on the country’s coat of arms, banknotes and coins.  It is used by the national sports teams and is part of numerous badges and logos of various institutions and organisations. The design of the Bird is not always exactly the same as seen from the flag specifications, the version on the currency and on the coat of arms etc. The origins of the emblem are a number of eight soapstone carvings found at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins in the late nineteenth century. The ruins are an Iron Age site 27km south-east of the town of Masvingo in the centre of the country and is the remains of a town built between 1200 and 1450 AD. The word ‘zimbabwe’ is derived from the Shona words dzimba dza mabwe and means “house of stone”. Archaeologists and historians believe that from the 13th to 15th centuries Great Zimbabwe was the capital of a large area in southern Africa. Great Zimbabwe National monument was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The National Animal

The Sable Antelope or Kudu, is the official national animal of Zimbabwe. The Giant Sable Antelope is a greatly respected animal which may be one of the reasons it survived the long civil war in Zimbabwe. These antelopes are protected in nature parks where hunting is forbidden as they are vitally endangered. The giant sable antelope lives in the savannahs, in forests near water, where leaves and tree sprouts are always juicy and abundant. Sable antelope is around, barrel-chested antelope with a short neck and a long face. It resembles the larger roan antelope, to which it is closely related. Among its distinctive features are its long horns, some 40 to 65 inches long. The ringed horns rise vertically and then sweep backward in a pronounced curve.

The National Flower

The distinctive flame lilyGloriosa superba”, is the national flower of Zimbabwe (where it is a protected plant). A diamond brooch in the shape of the flame lily was a gift from Southern Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe) to Queen Elizabeth II on a visit in 1947 while she was still the crown princess. The stunning red and yellow of this flower makes it especially prominent in the savannahs and warm regions of Zimbabwe. It is the national flower of Zimbabwe due to its notable beauty and its prolific growth throughout the country.

 The National Anthem

Blessed be the Land of Zimbabwe”, it was introduced in March 1994 after a nationwide competition to replace the South African-derived “Ishe Komborera Africa” with a distinctly Zimbabwean song. The winning entry was a Shona song written by Professor Solomon Mutswairo and composed by Fred Changundega. It has been translated into English and Ndebele, the two other main languages of Zimbabwe. The Ndebele version is mainly sung in the Matebeleland regions of Zimbabwe, while the English version is not commonly sung. Some schools in Matabeleland South have introduced the Sotho / Tswana version.

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